Labor & Workforce

German train drivers begin longest strike in Deutsche Bahn’s history

Berlin, Jan 23 (EFE).- German train drivers on Tuesday began the longest strike in the nation’s modern history that will last until Monday, affecting both freight and passenger transport services in the country.

The strike for the freight transport commenced on Tuesday evening and is set to conclude on Monday at 6pm, lasting almost 144 hours.

However, the strike will affect the passenger transport services from Wednesday morning.

This marks the fourth strike in the last three months by the German Train Drivers’ Union (GDL) as part of an ongoing dispute with the German Rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) regarding a new wage agreement.

The state-owned company has offered a 4.8% salary increase starting in August, a subsequent 5% increase from April 2025, and a one-time compensatory payment of 2,850 euros ($3,088) to offset inflation.

Starting in 2026, the company will offer employees the option to reduce their weekly working hours from 38 to 37.

However, the drivers’ union is calling for an immediate reduction of the weekly workload to 35 hours, a monthly pay increase of 555 euros (about $600), and a compensatory payment of 3,000 euros ($3,250).

The German Economic Institute (IW) estimates that the strike could cost the country up to 1 billion euros, as some companies may be compelled to halt or slow down production due to logistical and transportation delays.

“The German economy is already in recession. This is now threatening to get worse,” IW’s economic director Michael Gromling said.

Germany’s Minister of Transport, Volker Wissing, criticized the strike, highlighting that the wage dispute was taking on “destructive” dimensions. EFErz/bks/mcd

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